Ferzan Özpetek, born in Istanbul but a longtime resident of Italy, received the Commendatore (Commander) Order of Merit under a decree signed by Italian President Sergio Mattarella this June.
“I like it so much. Before that I had the title of ‘knighthood’, now the ‘Commendatore’ order came. I’m glad that Italians have embraced me like this,” Özpetek told Anadolu Agency.
Noting that he has been living in Italy for 43 years, he said that he is proud and grateful for being honored with such an award.
The acclaimed director of a dozen films, Özpetek enjoys a large audience in Italy, Turkey, and worldwide.
His films regularly win attention and awards at global film festivals.
In 2008, Özpetek received the Stella di Solidarieta (Star of Solidarity) order, awarded by then-President Giorgio Napolitano for his services to humanity and the environment.
Italy’s Order of Merit is given in five degrees for long and conspicuous service in the fields of literature, the arts, economy, public service, and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities.
Hurriyet Daily News